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An unfortunate mishap... (Cloudsdale and Seaquestria)

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(Cloudfeather image coming soon...)

 

Cloudfeather yawned as she punched her time card and removed her helmet from its hook. Why had she taken this shift again? Oh yeah. One of her friends was visiting family and asked her to cover for her. The things she did for her friends...

 

She entered the large room where the water harvester operated and took in the sight. The huge, golden cylinder extended from the ceiling all the way through the floor. Pipes protruded at various angles and many levels, through which water was pumped to the labs for treatment before being turned into clouds. A large tank on the side prepared to receive any fish or other creatures that may be unfortunately sucked into the vortex so that they could be safely stored until they could be returned to their watery habitat.

 

Cloudy wasn't as familiar with the harvester as she was with the actual cloud making machines, but she had fixed it enough times that she had a general idea of how it functioned. Plus, Cumulous had made her a checklist of operations for the day, so she was confident she would be able to manage. All that was left to do was wait for the signal to start the initiation sequence.

 

Hovering by a window, she looked out over Mount Aris, one of the homes of the hippogriffs. They had requested some showers to help get their spring crops in gear, and management determined it was easier to just move the city to them than it was to ship boxes of storm clouds out that far. 

 

It didn't take long for the red lights around the room to come on, signaling that it was time to start the harvest. Cloudy sighed as she looked out over the seascape. The desalinators would be working extra hard today. She would probably have to fix at least one of them during her own shift. No bother. She yawned and put on her goggles, then took  her position at the control panel, clipping the checklist to the dashboard so it would be easily accessible. "Alright, let's get you up and running."

 

The machine gave a deep groan as it powered up, then began to whirr with ever switch she threw and button she pressed. Soon, the water was flowing from the sea, into the harvester, and through the pipes, which shook slightly as they received the flash flood. "Alright, now I just have to monitor the pressure and temperature levels! No big deal! Should be easy!"

 

A few stray fish found their way into the collecting tank, looking disoriented but otherwise ok. They weren't Cloudy's concern, so she didn't pay them much attention. After the harvest, some other pegasi would deposit the tank back in the sea and they would continue with their lives. She watched the pressure meter hover in the green line for several minutes before the monotony of the task began to remind her how tired she was... It wasn't long until she rested her head on the dash and let her eyes slip shut...

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Down in the ocean however was a different story as another pegasus by the name of Aquaria was keeping watch of her marine animal friends, in particular a school of tuna swimming close to the surface. After warding off a shark from eating them, she decided to accompany them to their destination........

 

.......until she looked back and realized that some members were missing! 

 

"Oh no! Where'd Marlin and Coral go?! Did anyone see??" The shy mare asked in desperation.

 

Thankfully Aquaria could breathe water as well as air via the small sets of gills on her neck.

 

But right now, all she cared about was finding her missing members. 

 

The mare darted around, this way and that, looking frantically for the tuna when she suddenly felt a powerful current pulling her upwards towards the surface. At first she wasn't too concerned, having been caught in countless of undersea currents before but after looking up, she saw that this wasn't normal.

 

The current was actually extending out of the sea and up towards the sky somehow!

 

"What the hay?! It's pulling me up!!! Help!!!" The mare screamed, shutting her eyes tightly as she was carried up into the clouds.

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Cloudfeather awoke suddenly to the sound of a pressure alarm going off. After staring at the meter for a moment, still groggy from her nap, it suddenly hit her what the meter meant. "Oh!" she exclaimed. Quickly, she checked the alarm code, which indicated a clog in the fish net (as the sorting tube was known). Something strong must be caught in there. She had known the net to take in all sorts of marine life safely... Quickly, she hit the emergency stop button and the mechanism ground to a halt. She first checked the collection tank, as sometimes a buildup of fish inside could cause a jam in the conjoining tube. But there was nothing out of the ordinary. An octopus, numerous smaller fish and shrimp, etc. The largest creatures in there were a couple tuna, but the tank still had plenty of space.

 

Next, she flipped open the circular window latch that allowed her to peer through the observation window directly into the sorting tube. She gasped at what she saw. Inside was a real live pegasus pony! "Oh dear! Ohhhh dear!" she said. "Hang tight! I'll get you out of there! I just need to... um..." She needed to act fast. She didn't know how the pony had gotten caught in the vortex, but she could find out later. Right now, she had to focus on making sure she didn't drown. Cloudfeather banged on the observation window and shouted, "Swim down the tube!" she pointed in the direction of the tank as she yelled. "I'm going to come in to get you!"

 

And with that, she darted to the top of the tank - which was left open so that aquatic reptiles and mammals could still breathe - and dove head first into it, not even bothering to remove her hardhat.

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But Aquaria was in too much of a panic to acknowledge the stranger outside, still screaming and flailing.

 

Then the stranger dove in after her!

 

"AAAAAH!!! Get away!!! Leave me alone!!! Don't touch me!!!" she screamed, darting away.

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This was not good. She was swimming back into the main vortex channel, away from oxygen access. With the vortex port sealed, there would be no way for her to escape. And she was clearly a very adept and strong swimmer. After all, she had resisted the current of the sorting tube. There was no way Cloudfeather was going to catch up to her. "Wait! No! Come back!" she shouted, but only a muffled cloud of bubbles and distorted sound escaped her lips. Now she needed to breathe.

 

She made her way back through the pipe to the surface and gasped for air before tossing her helmet aside and diving back under. It was a good thing she was wearing goggles. Otherwise she wouldn't have been able to see anything in the darkness of the tube. The only light source was the open observation window.

 

Frantically, she swam into the cylinder that made up the bottom portion of the main body of the harvester. It was much more open than she would have expected. Above her, she could barely make out the filter grate that prevented fish and other animals from being sucked into the rest of the mechanism. Below her was much more spacious; she couldn't see the bottom of the chamber.

 

Looking around in a panic for the other pegasus, she bumped her head on the grate, causing her to release some precious air in surprise. She would need another breath very soon. She was by no means a good swimmer. But she had to find the other pegasus!

 

There! Movement! She started toward what looked like it may be the endangered pony, but by now, her need for oxygen was winning out, and her vision began to tunnel. Just... a little... further... she thought. But it was no use. Her lungs gave way and exhaled her breath against her will. Help... she thought.

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Aquaria continued to panic, flailing and swimming around with the help of her wings but there seemed to be no way out. She was trapped. Where was she? What did this other pony want? And where were her fish friends?? 

 

She suddenly found her answer upon bumping into something soft....and slimy. 

 

A tuna!

 

"Coral! Marlin! Is that you?! Oh thank Celestia! Would any of you happen to know a way out of here?" she asked the creatures.

 

But she could see they were behaving strangely...as if trying to point something out. And while regular ponies couldn't hear it, she was picking up strange glubs and clicks that sounded worried. Aquaria had been communicating with fish and other sea animals for years and she could understand them easily. 

 

"What? Drowning??" she questioned, looking down to where the creatures were pointing their bodies and now her heart was skipping beats.

 

This might've been a pony she didn't know and had tried to get away from but Aquaria wasn't going to let an innocent pony drown! She darted down and grabbed her, flapping her wings hard to get to the surface.

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Cloudfeather was barely conscious as they breached the surface. She immediately began coughing, sputtering, and gasping for air. What a backwards position she was in right now. She had gone in after a drowning pony to save her, and ended up nearly drowning before being saved herself!

 

As she began to catch her breath, she pulled her goggles up and looked at the pony who had saved her. "Are you ok?" she asked.

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But having done her deed, Aquaria's shyness came back like a storm and she quickly darted to the opposite side, not saying anything.

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Cloudfeather coughed again as she rose, muttering, "I'll take that as a yes..." 

 

"Thanks for (*cough cough*) saving my life. I was seriously scared I was going to drown!" 

 

She shook herself off before continuing. "By the way, how did you survive? I mean, you were under there waaaaay longer than I was... And you were talking, too! And I could understand you!"

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Cloudfeather grew concerned. "Hey, are you alright? Did you get hurt or anything when you got sucked into the vortex? Lemme take you to the infirmary. You could have a concussion or something." She trotted toward the other pegasus with her hoof extended.

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Cloudy stopped for a moment, confused. Then a thought hit her. The poor girl must be shell-shocked! After all, she was sucked into a giant vortex, pushed through a dark tube, and into a large tank without any warning. Cloudy smiled warmly and continued her approach, hoof extended, but slower this time. "It's ok," she said, "There's nothing to be afraid of. I'm sorry you got sucked up, but you're ok now. You're safe."

 

Unfortunately, she was startled and stopped in her tracks as the blaring of the intercom interrupted her consoling. "Management to harvester: The harvester has been down for several minutes. Do you require a technician?"

 

"Oh dear!" Cloudy exclaimed. "Um... Just a moment! I'll be right with you!" She darted to the control panel and searched until she found the intercom button. "Uhh no! Everything is fine! We just had a little... uh... fish situation. But everything's good now! I'm powering it back on." She proceeded to go back through her checklist for start up procedures, then turned back around to face where the pegasus had last been. "Sorry about that. Where were we?"

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But Aquaria had decided to leave and get away from this unfamiliar pony and try to get back to the ocean, stepping through the doors and eventually finding her way outside.....only to look down. 

 

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! Why am I up so high?! Where am I?! I wanna go home!!!"

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The pegasus was gone. Gone! Where could she have gone?? "This is bad... This is really bad!" Cloudfeather took off down the hall, searching for the aquamarine of the pony's coat until she heard a scream. 

 

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! Why am I up so high?! Where am I?! I wanna go home!!!"

 

Aha! she thought, then raced in the direction of the sound. There, at one of the emergency exits, was the pegasus, hysterical with fear. Here we go again... Cloudy thought as she prepared to pursue this pegasus wherever she decided to run...

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Ohhh dear. Cloudfeather did not handle crying well. She flitted down to land softly on the floor and approached the pony slowly. "Hey," she said gently as she got closer. "Please don't run away this time. I promise I just want to help."

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"If you did want to help, you'll tell me where I am and release my friends!!!" the young mare suddenly blurted out.

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"Oh! Well that first part is easy!" Cloudfeather replied. "You're in the Weather Factory at Cloudsdale, Equestria! You got sucked up by our harvester by mistake and pumped into the sorting tank. We keep any fish and other sea creatures there so that they're safe until we can bring them back down to their habitat. As for your friends, you were the only pony I saw in there... Maybe your friends escaped the vortex before they got sucked in?"

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Aquaria growled. "I don't have any pony friends! I mean the tuna, the octopi and all the other sea creatures!"

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"Huh?" Cloudfeather responded, recoiling a little at the response. "You're... friends with the fish?" Cloudfeather looked around the other pegasus's head. "I think we'd better get you to the infirmary... You must be disoriented."cloudfeather-final.png

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Now Aquaria was starting to get a little frustrated and annoyed, surprised how this airheaded Pegasus wasn't putting 2 and 2 together. "No! I'm serious!" she sighed. "Nevermind.... you'd just call me a freak if I told you..."

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"It's ok," Cloudfeather said. "We'll get you checked out in no time and you can be off on your way. By the way, my name's Cloudfeather. What's yours?" She extended a hoof to raise the other pegasus up as she introduced herself.

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Cloudfeather sighed. She crouched down next to the pony and slowly put her arms around her. "Look... I know you're scared. Anypony would be. But I promise you're safe here. We just need to take you to the infirmary to make sure you're ok, have you fill out a form so that we can compensate you later, and then you are free to go. I promise nothing else bad is going to happen. You can trust me."

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